Maria Montessori’s Joy!

It was Dr. Montessori’s birthday yesterday. Encountering her work has changed my life and I am constantly seeking to understand more. I want to share a beautiful passage by Renilde Montessori that I read at the Educateurs sans Frontieres assembly in Hyderabad. It speaks to Dr Montessori’s personality which can be hard to comprehend when you read her own writings.

Picture of Dr. Montessori in a Sari 

“I would like to suggest that as you listen to all the practical and ideological information on Montessori you will be offered, you allow a reality, rarely mentioned, to permeate your understanding of the things you hear. This reality is Maria Montessori’s joy.

Montessori was a blithe spirit. She delighted in the beauty of the universe, the marvels of nature, above in man’s achievements and man’s potential. Her love of life was the leitmotif of her teaching. If we wish to understand, adopt and implement education as an aid to life, then it is the blitheness in our own spirit that we should seek to nurture in our dealings with the child. Joy is seldom considered in any serious discussion on education. Yet one of the greatest privileges of being human is the acquisition of knowledge, of understanding, of awareness at all levels of perception, is a limitless source of rejoicing. We live in a spiritually bleak climate of anxious and violent times.

It is incumbent upon us to bypass prevalent despondencies and build on our potential for exuberance, strength, intelligence and versatility. It is our highest obligation to be happy. Happiness is not an easy discipline- it is one of the most demanding. Our great good fortune as parents and as educators is that we have the most expert guides in our attainment of true happiness: the children. The children, bound to the very essence of life by love in its purest form. Let us, with Maria Montessori, follow the child. Let us, with her, always be willing to learn from our children.” – Renilde Montessori

Source: Talk at the Welcoming Reception of the First International Forum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Febbruary 1984 printed in the Educateurs sans Frontieres Fifth Assembly Selected Readings Booklet

Copyright: The Estate of Renilde Montessori

Picture from the indianparentsforum.com via google

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This spoke to me so much! Raising my children the Montessori way has truly allowed me to experience a kind of joy I had not previously experienced. Watching their marvelous conquests, seeing life through their eyes and just appreciating the little things of life that I previously took for granted has been a gift! Thank you Dr. Montessori for your gifts to the world. Your joy certainly lives on. Happy Birthday!!!

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